2010 Best in Enterprise-Wide Mobility Deployment
By William Atkinson
Hertford Regional College improved cellular service for its staff, both on campus and off.
Hertford Regional College, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom, found a way to improve mobile cellular service with Agito's RoamAnywhere solution which enables the college to address the key challenges associated with mobile phone use.
"These challenges included soaring mobility costs, no in-building coverage, and integration into corporate PBX and unified communications (UC) systems," explains Daniel Hidlebaugh, network services manager.
One reason for the move to the new technology was that the college was involved in a significant amount of new building construction, including a four-story building that covers half a city block. The building materials did not allow indoor cellular coverage, which was necessary for faculty, staff, and students.
"When we opened a new $140 million facility in early 2009, we soon learned that the new building materials did not allow in-building mobile cellular coverage," explains Hidlebaugh.
As a result, anyone wanting to use their mobile phones had to step outside. "Since the facilities are quite large, someone might have to spend 30 minutes getting to an area that offered cellular connectivity," he notes.
Mobile access for staff was critical, though, leading the college to look for a solution. The Agito deployment leveraged the Cisco infrastructure that the college already had. Now, the staff's handhelds connect to Cisco's Wi-Fi indoors and T-Mobile's cellular service outdoors, making them accessible at all times.
The staff is now also accessible off campus, including at the college's two remote campuses, and at home.
"Because of the decreased overall cost of communication via this deployment, we have found that the whole process of communicating with team members has improved, and communications have increased," notes Hidlebaugh.
Agito is able to integrate with the college's Cisco PBX, as well as Microsoft OCS 2007. "Agito not only routes cellular calls via the cheapest path inside and outside our enterprise, but uses VoIP over our WLAN and Nokia E series phones, as well as our BlackBerry smartphones," Hidlebaugh continues.
In terms of cost, the Cisco PBX and WLAN infrastructure were already in place, and the college was already subscribing to the T-Mobile service. The Agito solution cost about $22,500 for hardware, maintenance, and user costs. The handhelds cost $85 each for the initial deployment of 150 mobile users.
In terms of savings, the college realized a 50 percent reduction in mobile costs each month, representing approximately $3,000 a month
"We also realized a 'soft' savings of time and money per mobile staff," Hidlebaugh continues. "At a very conservative time savings rate of 30 minutes per week per user, we estimate that we save at least $1,500 per week in time. We achieved full ROI payment in less than four months."
How has the technology been working since installation? "There have been no issues at all other than our reorganization of the authentication process," replies Hidlebaugh
In terms of the future, the college plans to expand the technology's availability to the total student population. "At this time, though, there is a hold due to financial restraints placed on the college from the government," he explains.
Minimizing Medication Mistakes
Aspirus Wausau Hospital implemented a barcode system to track medication being delivered to patients.
At Aspirus Wausau Hospital, Wausau, Wisconsin, over 20,000 doses of medication are handed out each week and used to be tracked manually. The hospital wanted to find a way to decrease errors and improve overall patient safety by engineering out human factor errors in ordering, dispensing, and administering of medication.
In seeking options, the hospital wanted a solution that would fit nicely into the user's hand and would be easy to use and work with the hospital's existing wireless network (Cisco).
Aspirus Wausau Hospital selected Epic Systems Mobile Meds, a wireless bedside barcode medication administration system running on Motorola MC70 Handheld Mobile Computers in all of the hospital units where nurses administer medications. "We selected the MC70 because of its adaptability and its ability to be managed remotely, the way a smart IT device should," explains Jerry Mourey, vice president, information technology. "It was also able to interact with our wireless infrastructure the same way that our other devices do, such as laptop computers on wheels."
The hospital now has between 200 and 300 devices currently active. The staff is now catching between 2.2 and 4.4 doses per 1,000 in which the wrong medication was scanned, which has been important in improving patient safety.
RFID to the Rescue
RFID technology helps keep track of the hospitals' inventory and management records.
The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust in West Yorkshire, England, operates with 14,000 staff members. One goal of the hospital was improving productivity and efficiency. Specifically, the hospital wanted to enable doctors and nurses to spend more time providing care to patients and less time on administrative duties such as locating the right supplies and tracking inventory.
The hospital's inventory tracking and management records need to be updated in real time to eliminate unnecessary ordering and to maintain stock control. Some of the most common, costly, and time-consuming challenges facing the hospital's supply chain were created by inaccurate product data and synchronization between buyers and sellers, resulting in purchase order errors, delayed fulfillment, and hours of staff time spent researching these problems.
In looking for a solution, the hospital opted for RFID technology. Specifically, it selected Sybase RFID Anywhere and GHX Powergate to provide accurate and up-to-date inventory tracking and management. Staff can now access the mobile solution by utilizing barcodes connected to 3,000 items. These can be scanned at 270 stocking points throughout the hospital.
The hospital can now be more precise in managing its finances and maintaining integrity with suppliers, from sale to receipt of payment. The solution has also improved the data quality on the hospital's tracking system. It now has visibility into what equipment is in stock and can track and trace this equipment from order to invoice.
How have staff responded? "Clinical staff were consulted throughout the design process, from initial information gathering through final detailed design," explains Graham Medwell, information manager at Leeds. "The close partnership ensured that they were fully appreciative of the goals of the project and its ultimate practical application. The technology is also simple and easy to use.
The hospital has been able to reduce stock levels by $884,000 (USD). Service levels have improved to 98%, and eight hours of manually intensive checking per orthopedic kit have been eliminated.